Woods will be getting more tournament exposure next week after having committed to The Honda Classic at PGA National.
The four-time major victor said he needed "a couple of Advil" after completing the second round of the Genesis Open, and added that he sympathised with playing partner Tiger Woods who has had to deal with noisy distractions throughout his career.
All in all, starting his third tournament - and second official PGA Tour event - since undergoing a fourth back surgery last April, Woods could not get anything going on a course where he said earlier in the week he "played very bad".
McDowell, who shared the overnight lead with Cantlay, carded a one-under par 70.
Woods had five birdies, four bogeys and a double-bogey on the par-5 11th hole Thursday in a round he called "all right". A common malady for golfers of every shape, size and stature, bringing his game to the course is a far more hard task. He is now playing at the Genesis Open in Southern California.
Defending champion and world number one Dustin Johnson battled to a 74 after an early triple bogey."Man, I fought hard, made a few mistakes, simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, but one-over's not bad", Woods told Golf Channel. I thought his short game display yesterday was very, very impressive.
"My wedge game is fine", Woods said. "But overall I thought I hung in there well and grinded". Starting on the reachable par-4 10th, where one mistake can lead to big numbers, Woods played it perfectly with an iron to the far left of the fairway for the best angle into the green, a wedge to just under 10 feet and a birdie. "I think it would be a smart sign if I didn't play".
While the glass half-empty brigade feasted on Woods's poor second-round 76 for a tie for 116th place as evidence he is never coming back, there was plenty for those alongside McIlroy in the other camp to draw upon.
"Last year was kind of a hot day, I just kind of had everything going for me". "I'm progressing, I'm starting to get a feel for tournament golf again". It's tiring. I need a couple Advil just to - I've got a headache after all that. "Give him a little bit of time".